Sugarland Co-founder Kristin Hall Sues Former Bandmates Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush

Staff | August 8th, 2008

  1. Jim Malec
    August 8, 2008 at 10:35 am

    Well, this makes up for Wednesday’s “slow news day.”

  2. Peter
    August 8, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Haha – a “joint review” of Willie and Steve E.

    heh heh heh

  3. Jim Malec
    August 8, 2008 at 10:48 am

    Here’s a more in depth article about the Sugarland story: Sugarland story on

  4. Marc
    August 8, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Saw the Sugarland lawsuit thing coming when they split sop “secretively”

    Toby Keith is such a clueless tard. Giving white people, and the south, a horrid spokesperson.

  5. leeann
    August 8, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Holy cow, this *does* make up for yesterday’s slow news day!

  6. Brady Vercher
    August 8, 2008 at 10:56 am

    The Huffington Post is garbage, figures they’d publish something as idiotic as that Toby Keith article.

  7. Jeff
    August 8, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Jewel got married…good , maybe now she’ll go away.

  8. Razor X
    August 8, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Do former band members typically expect to share in the profits after they’ve departed from a group? Or was this arrangement some sort of pay-off to get rid of Hall and have her fade quietly into the background?

  9. Matt B.
    August 8, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Hall’s lawsuit makes sense given that she probably DID have some sort of ‘good faith’ agreement with the remaining members of the band. She better have gotten something in writing.

  10. Stormy
    August 8, 2008 at 11:30 am

    And if anyone is an expert on how to act and talk black its Toby Keith.
    Word to your mother.

  11. Trailer
    August 8, 2008 at 11:33 am

    I wish Taylor Swift would go away. Luckily, she’s burning so hot, she’ll probably burn out fast. I can only hope. Kristen Hall’s suing huh? Does this set a precedent for Jason Newsted suing Metallica for the 23 cents profit they’ve made since he left?

  12. B. Jonathan
    August 8, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I find it curious that the news of the Sugarland lawsuit is coming on the heels of perhaps the best month of their careers so far.

  13. Matt B.
    August 8, 2008 at 11:40 am

    …Kristen Hall didn’t have a written agreement with Sugarland. If the whole thing is about getting paid because of the band name trademark, that hardly sounds like a $1.5 million type of case.

  14. Thomas
    August 8, 2008 at 11:41 am

    only the jerks. ms. hall doesn’t stand a chance to win without a written agreement. case of word against word.

    then again, a lawsuit is time-consuming and destracting, which leaves a fair chance for her to walk away with some kind of settlement, just to get rid of her for good.

    of course, the attack of a seemingly greedy ex-bandmember is positive negative-publicity for sugarland and should keep them in the headlines.

  15. Brady Vercher
    August 8, 2008 at 11:43 am

    From the article Jim linked to:

    [Hall] claims that she has an existing partnership agreement with Nettles and Bush dating from 2002 in which they agreed to share profits and losses equally. Hall also alleges that she created the name Sugarland and agreed to “contribute” the trade name, trademark and service mark to the partnership.

    The partnership agreement, however, never was put into writing, according to Hall’s lawyer.

    Considering that her name is on the trademark with the other two, it shouldn’t be hard to prove that their was a partnership agreement. I would assume Nettles and Bush would need something in writing to prove the dissolution of their business partnership. It seems to me that she has a solid case.

    Razor X, I wondered the same thing, but the article on clears up some confusion. It also mentioned that former members of Limp Bizkit received settlements once the band gained some notoriety, so there is precedent.

  16. Brady Vercher
    August 8, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Thomas, why don’t you think Hall has a chance to win?

  17. Thomas
    August 8, 2008 at 11:54 am

    if there’s no written agreement kristen hall has just no evidence to proof her claim at court. on top of everything, the timing of the filing of the lawsuit looks rather dodgy, to say the least.

    she and her lawyers will aim for an out-of-court settlement but that will be nowhere near the $ 1.5 million she’s claiming now.

  18. Brady Vercher
    August 8, 2008 at 12:02 pm

    An oral contract is legally binding and considering the role she played and the fact that her name is on the trademark filings, it seems to me that it’d be difficult to prove there was no partnership arrangement.

  19. Thomas
    August 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    sugarland (nettles/bush) do not have to prove that there wasn’t an agreement. kirsten hall must present evidence that there was one. especially, one that would entitle her to receive financial compensation after leaving the band/partnership.

  20. Matt B.
    August 8, 2008 at 12:10 pm


    I agree with you and think that the trademark filings are what this case will be based on. They’re probably what she’s really angling for in the case. She wants a percentage of the profits of the merch that the band sells and likely will continue to earn that throughout Sugarland’s career.

    This reminds me of the Backstreet Boys and how they sued Lou Pearlman (who gained 90% of his wealth through ponzi schemes) to remove him as manager/controller of their career. In the end, Pearlman had ‘membership’ agreements (making him the 6th member) and because of that, he still receives money from everything the band does, even behind bars (although I assume most of that goes to his creditors now).

    Is it sad that I know that info?

  21. Dan M.
    August 8, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    It always saddens me to see country acts get caught up in legal disputes. Seems to me like Hall’s got a good case, although I’m not clear on whether she’s supposed to have received more profits just from songs and sales off of Twice the Speed of Life, or from anything that bears the group’s name, like merchandise sales.

    Whoever made that prediction earlier that Sugarland’s “deluxe” edition pre-release would spur a popular trend for country acts, Taylor Swift seems to be providing some early validation (although it’s hardly surprising coming from someone who’s already re-relased her debut in any number of “editions”).

  22. leeann
    August 8, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Matt B, did you ever own a BSB CD?:)

  23. Matt B.
    August 8, 2008 at 1:17 pm


    I think I still own one or two of them Leeann (That makes it even worse no?) Perhaps that should have been on my list over at country universe of ‘embarrassing’ albums that I own.

  24. Blake
    August 8, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    I own “Millenium”, but I thought I Want It That Way was a brilliant piece of pop music. I’m still embarassed, though.

  25. leeann
    August 8, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Oh yeah, good for Jewel! I saw Ty say on a GAC special the other week that the thought of marriage was scarier to him than some crazy rodeo thing that I can’t remember, because I don’t know anything about the rodeo. Likewise, Jewel said that getting married wasn’t a priority or necessity for her. Sure fooled me.:)

  26. Jim Malec
    August 8, 2008 at 1:52 pm

    No! Jewel! How could you!
    I shoulda been a cowboy. Hmph.

  27. Dan M.
    August 8, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    And the truth about Jim’s “Jewel influence” comes out!

  28. Matt B.
    August 8, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    I don’t care what anyone says,

    “I Want It That Way” is a brilliant piece of pop music. It’s a song that I’m actually surprised hasn’t been covered in country. Hell, Michael Peterson has his ‘demo’ of “Livin’ La Vida Loca” from 1999 on his MySpace.

  29. Chris N.
    August 8, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    I’ll third that — “I Want It That Way” is pretty awesome. Never cared for anything else they did, though.

  30. Stephen H.
    August 8, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    “Crawling Back to You” is a good song, too.

  31. Brady Vercher
    August 8, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    I suppose y’all have seen the parody version of “I Want It That Way.”

  32. Dan M.
    August 8, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Wow, that parody kept me guessing till the very last moment.

  33. Rick
    August 8, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    Maybe Jewel is with child and didn’t want to give birth to a “bastard”! (Boy how things have changed over the years….) This should work out for Jewel as I read recently that when the wife is far more attractive than the husband the husband usually doesn’t stray as they are so thankful to have a hottie for a wife. Also the fact such husbands are not attractive may have something to do with it…

    Thanks for the Wright-Up (bad pun) on the Sunny Sweeney / The Wrights songwriters in the round concert you attended. Its like “The Bluebird Cafe” has hit the road! During the 2007 Fan Fair Sunny started busking on the sidewalk out in front of the main Ernest Tubb Record Shop and my friends tell me almost none of the passersby had any idea who she was….

    Taylor Swift is aa genius when it comes to marketing herself. Taylor has become such a “brand” and cultural icon her music has become a secondary consideration. Hey, when do the Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift “Barbie” special edition dolls come out? (lol)

  34. Lynn
    August 8, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    There’s a rumor going around that Jewel’s new husband will be on the next “Dancing with the Stars.” I’m not quite sure what to think about that. In fact,
    I’m still not sure how I feel about Sara Evans performance on that show.

    Oral contracts are enforceable so long as there is consideration. Perhaps the consideration in this case was Hall leaving the band? If she has a good, reputable attorney, she probably has a decent case. The vast majority of civil cases settle. I’d bet a lot of money on this one settling out of court for an undisclosed amount. I’ll check out the complaint tomorrow, although a lot of complaints are purposely bare-bones. You don’t have to put all of your evidence forth in a complaint.

  35. leeann
    August 9, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Sorry that my comment seems out of sequence. There seems to be a delay on this comment thread, so I didn’t notice your comment directed to me before, Razor X.

    I’ll admit that my above comment comes from an uninformed place. Back when Sugarland came out, I had no idea that Hall was a lesbian. I know that people outside of the country world did, but did people within the country world know? This is a real question, because I don’t know the answer.

  36. leeann
    August 9, 2008 at 9:48 am

    Oops, that coment belongs on the Malec Minute thread.

  37. Craig R.
    August 11, 2008 at 10:09 am

    I am sorry for writing this message so late. I have always thought that Hall was pushed out of Sugarland too soon. It wouldn’t shock me if 2 or 3 years from now there is no Bush and no Sugarland.

    As for Toby Keith- I don’t think that “Beer for My Horses” is racist. 1. Because Willie co-wrote it. 2. Because as a black man my ears would prick up if that were the case. That said, I think that Toby Keith’s comments on Glen Beck were racist. I am a big McCain supporter, but to claim that a black man is acting white just proves that Keith has no idea how diverse the black culture and community is or the white community, for that matter. Maybe Toby Keith should stop speaking out loud when his foot is in his mouth. Write better songs. That is my best advice. His music has been going downhill like a snowball. Write better songs.

  38. leeann
    August 11, 2008 at 10:28 am

    While Toby often says things that make me cringe, I’m not convinced that “Beer For My Horses” is meant to be racist either. Willie, however, did not help write the song. It was written by Toby Keith and Scottie Emerick, though I’m pretty sure Nelson wouldn’t sing on a song if he thought it was racist. In this case, I buy Keith’s explanation of the song, because that’s always what I’ve envisioned when I hear it.

  39. Craig R.
    August 11, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    I am sorry I thought that was the song they co- wrote together. Thanks LeeAnn. I also agree that Willie wouldn’t sing a racist song.

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